After careful consideration, we've decided to postpone our Burundi Journey to next summer. With growing excitement we can see that this decision will give us the
time we need to "get it right," especially concerning the water
project which needs much deeper study. By taking a step back from
the pressure of deadlines and fundraising limitations, we'll have a
chance to better understand what it is that the neighborhood of
Carama needs from us, and we'll be more fully able to provide it.
We are exploring a pre-journey scouting trip with several
delegates this summer, from the designated Water Team
(see below) and a Town Hall Team, to investigate and lay the
proper groundwork for an extraordinary journey in 2009.
This is good news for us, but do you
know the best news? If you've been interested in going to Burundi
but didn't feel as though you had enough time for fundraising and
preparation, you have another chance to join the 2009 delegation!
To find out more, please don't
hesitate to contact us via email or phone, and feel free to join us
at the next orientation session on Monday, May 12th, from 5:15 to 7:00.
We'd love to see you there!
Global Citizen Journey
|Sweet Crude Team Returns to the U.S.
We are thankful to report that the four American Sweet Crude filmmakers have been safely returned to the U.S. after being detained by the Nigerian military while traveling in the Niger Delta. Joel Bisina, founder of GCJ partner Niger Delta Professionals for Development, has returned to his home in Warri, and should be coming to the U.S. in early May.
Director Sandy Cioffi, producer
Tammi Sims and photojournalists Sean Porter and Cliff Worsham were in Nigeria
to finish the documentary Sweet Crude, about the effects of oil production on
the people and environment of the Niger Delta.
Thank you to everyone who helped secure their release by spreading the word, and to the U.S. lawmakers who worked for mutual understanding with the Nigerian government.
GCJ in the News! Word about Global
Citizen Journey's work is spreading! Check out what the Bellingham Herald and
the Ballard News-Tribune
have to say.
AGRA Watch: Global
Citizen Journey is helping to gather a number of individuals and organizations
around shared concerns regarding the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
(AGRA)-the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation
initiative now chaired by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Given our commitment to being fully engaged citizens and the presence of this
major Foundation in our backyard, we feel called to pay close attention to what
is happening from the perspective of what will serve our brothers and sisters
in Africa and our planet. GCJ seeks to spur integration of the learning from
the failures of the first so called Green Revolution - now reflected in the
tragic suicides of farmers in India and the industrialization of food
production in the US. Our first objective is education of ourselves and the
public around AGRA. We will seek ways to engage in dialogue with the
Gates Foundation to exchange visions and concerns as well as to call for them
to be transparent and accountable to the public --including in Africa-- around
their policies, alliances, and priorities. We will seek direction from African
small farmers regarding AGRA . Also, we aim to utilize this issue as a
opportunity to network with all Puget Sound area groups dealing with Africa and
international concerns, especially around agriculture and food security.
You are welcomed to join this group: sign up for the
agraconcern list at https//:lists.riseup.net and you will receive notification
of meetings and additional resources to read.
We have posted a number of key resources and background
reading around this issue on our website.
|Update on Carama Water Project
Water Team reports their findings
In preparation for our Burundi journey,
a dedicated Water Team has been created for the purpose of
investigating great options for bringing water to Carama, and to
gather, sort and process the huge amount of information on the
subject. Last week Brock, Wes, Deborah and Prosper consulted with
Llyn, a hydrologist who works with Engineers Without Borders. They determined that a complete water
and sanitation plan is something that the village needs and GCJ would
like to make that an explicit goal of our journey. Prosper will
work with the Carama village to establish a Water & Sanitation
Team when gets back later month, and together we will identify a
series of phases for this larger project and identify the first high
priority components that we can focus on within the resources we can
raise. Several of our US Water Team members hope to go to
Carama this summer to investigate and coordinate more fully so that we can be ready with a clear plan of action and wise priorities for summer
With another full year to study the project, we are committed to doing our research. We have learned that the water table in the area is very high, which has helped us focus on a few different solutions, such as digging a well (with the high water table, manual digging may be sufficient) or pulling and filtering water from a nearby river. We are preparing a comparison of solar, diesel, manual and filtering approaches with a goal to include all start-up costs and maintenance costs, as well as making sure that the project is as green as possible.
If you have any interest or expertise in this area, please consider lending us a hand! Contact Brock Blatter, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.
|Connecting Young People Across the Globe
Marysville 3rd graders connect with Oporoza students
An update from Ryan Hauck, a former GCJ
delegate to the Niger Delta in 2005 who has not only maintained the
connection he made, but who has also paved the way for his students
Ryan's work has helped to establish a
new connection between Quil Ceda (Marysville) elementary school and
the primary school in Oporoza, Nigeria. A 3rd grade class
at the elementary school wrote letters to 23 primary students in
Oporoza after Ryan went into the class and showed slides, discussing
life in Oporoza, and teaching the receptive students some Ijaw
language and a popular Nigerian song.
Ryan then traveled for the fifth time
back to Nigeria this past November, laden with the unbelievable
amount of clothing, books, school supplies, toiletries, medical
supplies, PE equipment, toys, etc., that were donated by the parents
of the 3rd grade class. Once in Oporoza, he spent a great
deal of time in the primary school, teaching a lesson and helping the
students to respond individually to each of the letter written from
the Quil Ceda 3rd graders. (The Quil Ceda 3rd
graders have since responded, and their letters were taken back to
Oporoza by Joel Bisina)
Meanwhile, the high school students at
Marysville-Pilchuck High School are continuing to establish their
"sister-school" relationship with students in the Secondary
School in Oporoza. Currently they are in the process of raising
funds to support the purchase of novels, poetry, and non-fiction
books that are part of the Nigerian curriculum, but are not available
to the students there.
Now that there is a working internet system in
Oporoza, students at MPHS are looking forward to more regular
communication and building on the relationship they have been
cultivating. There is a possibility of using a joint curriculum from
the Giraffe Project, which is centered around service learning and
empowers students to learn from authentic voices who have been a
catalyst for change. This curriculum hopes to give students the
background and skills to be actively engaged in the local and global
communities to initiate positive change.
Fourth return to Axim for GCJ Ghana Project Director
|GCJ Ghana Project Director Maryanne and Rich Ward made their 4th return to Axim this Spring. This time, they were able to live and eat in the Western Heritage Home we partnered in building, now filled with 21 lively (parentless) children. Maryanne & Rich brought 14 computers, 35 chess sets, and lots of books and puzzles in their luggage, which captivate the children thoroughly - perfect for this rainy season. Western Heritage Home is flourishing and the computer center is taking shape. Other spin-off projects such as the Veronica buckets and water sanitation plans are also making progress. Many of our Ghanaian GCJ delegates from 2006 are now very involved in the home, and spearheading work on other related projects in Axim. There is a great sense of Ghanaians and North Americans trusting each other and working together, with a deep sense of empowerment and inspiration
From Maryanne's journal: "Perhaps this is the time to describe the children. What we see we consider no less than remarkable. The staff have done an incredible job. They work together on the daily basics - food, clothing, health, sleep, affection. The children are generally calm, clean, and affectionate and considerate with each other."
home from school together. The children got quite excited when theyMaryanne's heart was filled with joy one day when they were walking could see the roof. "We're almost home," they shouted. What a joyous manifestion of GCJ's mission and the hard work of all our GCJ community and delegates! (Check out the GCJ Ghana blog for continued updates).
Top photo: The orphans pose in front of the newly completed Western Heritage Home building.
Bottom photo: A plaque at the Western Heritage Home honoring the GCJ Ghana Journey delegates.
|Join us in Burundi in Summer 2009.
|Find out more.
|Want to get to know GCJ? Join us on Monday May 12th from 5:15-7 for an informal conversation and video presentation. (email for more directions).
Check out our website for
an updated list of events!
Picnic in the Park!
Join us this summer for a picnic in the park. The date is still uncertain, but we're currently choosing between two Saturdays: July 12th or the 19th, GCJ delegates, volunteers, alumni and friends are all welcome to a day of food, fun, dancing, games and storytelling (location TBA). Mark it on your calendar, and stay tuned for more details!
|Do You Have A Story To Share?
|We're in the process of collecting delegate stories to add to our website, and to use in order to help future delegates prepare for a Journey. Are you a former delegate with a story to shore? Let us know!
|Photos from past and continuing journeys
A student band practices in Oporoza, Nigeria.
Students in front of the Western Heritage Home, Axim, Ghana.
A ceremonial feast for GCJ delegates in Oporoza.
A student studies in Oporoza.
A man in Ghana poses for the camera.
A finished home in Burundi built by JRMD/YRWD.
Women in Oporoza.
A child in Ghana, wears a shirt made from cloth created in honor of GCJ (the white seal on his right arm is our logo!)